More than a dozen WestJet passengers' luggage was left in Toronto last week due to weight constraints. *File photo
More than a dozen WestJet passengers' luggage was left in Toronto last week due to weight constraints. *File photo

Bags have been bumped off planes travelling to Bermuda so they can carry more fuel while radar improvements take place.

This according to the airline WestJet, who say aircraft need to carry more fuel in case there is delays landing at LF Wade while the airport’s radar is upgraded.

Just last week a group of more than a dozen WestJet passengers arrived on the island, only to be told that their luggage had been left in Toronto due to weight constraints.

The Bermuda Sun understands that this is not the first time that bags have had to be removed from the flight.

A project to install an enhanced radar surveillance system to extend Bermuda’s coverage from 360 miles to 440 miles began at the beginning of last month.

And initially the work caused a few minor delays to flights leaving LF Wade International Airport.

But a spokesman for WestJet said: “This has meant that air carriers must fly with more fuel in expectation of possible delays in being able to land, and therefore less payload.

“This is why some bags have been left behind. We fly YYZBDA (Toronto to Bermuda) three times weekly and continue to make every effort possible to get bags left behind on subsequent flights.“

However, other airlines told the Sun that the ongoing radar work had had little effect on their service or their payload.

A spokesman for Delta said: “There have been some occasional delays associated with the radar upgrade.

“But it has not had impacted on our operation in terms of having to leave bags behind.

“We are well aware of the weight restrictions that we have to operate under and plan accordingly.”

Aaron Adderley, the airport’s general manager, said the radar upgrade would be finished by mid-July.

He told the Sun: “The FAA radar here at the LF Wade International Airport is in the process of being replaced with a more enhanced unit that provides a greater area of surveillance for FAA Air Traffic Controllers based in New York, who provide Air Traffic Management services to flights arriving to and departing from Bermuda.

“The FAA expects to have the installation of this new radar completed next month.

“As has been advertised and communicated to the travelling public, the use of standard non-radar procedures during this time may result in delays to flights departing Bermuda.

“We are looking forward to the completion of this project so as to avoid any further disruption to our passengers.